How To Plant Your First Garden

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Getting your own little garden in your backyard can prove to be an exciting and cathartic experience. Before you start planting, there are few factors that you need to consider. First step to creating a beautiful garden starts with a little planning. Assess the space in your backyard and look for spots that have adequate exposure to sunlight. Most plants require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight on a daily basis.

Type of Plants

You can start with regular vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, corn, carrots, radish, etc. Tomatoes are a favorite among those are just starting out. You can get over 10 pounds of tomatoes on a yearly basis with just 2 dollars worth of seeds. It would also be a good idea to mix and match with vegetables with other flower varieties. This will give your garden a dynamic appearance and improve its visual appeal. Visit your local store to buy seeds and make sure to look at the back end instructions to familiarize yourself with the process. It is ideal to start gardening on a small scale which will allow you enough time to learn the nuances of handling plant life.

Spacing

For home based gardens, it is recommended to plant samplings in small rows of 3-4 feet. This allows for better utilization of space and is a more practical option for small scale gardening. By forging multiple rows, you can grow different varieties of vegetables. This is one simple way of ensuring that the produce obtained in the end is more than enough for a simple household of four. An abundance of produce eventually only leads to rot.

Tilling

Once you have decided on the plant of your choice, go through the instructions manual in detail. Certain plants can be planted straight away through the usual route while others require to be potted indoors before moving the saplings out. Before planting the sapling use a till to break away the soil. Plant the sapling and cover it with mud. Avoid walking over the area since it will make the soil more compact. If you are using seeds, you can simply dig up some earth and have them planted on the ground before covering it up.

Water Regularly

Most plants need water every day to germinate and you can use sprinkler cans to water the saplings. Water the plants at least 6 days a week and the early growing phase of a plant particularly requires additional attention. Water the soil rather than soak the leaves with water. This will reduce the instances of pests like caterpillar which like to feed on leaves.

Fencing

Once your plant has grown to a certain height, it might be a good idea to build a small mesh wire fence around it. This will deter rodents and other pests from eating away at the produce. Use organic fertilizers to replenish soil quality. Be careful while using insecticides since they can be very harmful to human consumption. Even when you are growing flower based plants, the use of highly toxic chemicals can result in respiratory and skin disorders. So make it a point to use only mild pest control chemicals whenever required.

Top 10 Vegetables to Grow Over Winter

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A lot of first time gardeners tend to assume that the winter season is not ideal for growth of crops. Even during the coldest months, there are hundreds of vegetables that you can sow. With the right amount of care, you can be assured of a bountiful harvest, come spring. Here is a list of 10 vegetables you can grow over winter.

Broad Beans

Broad beans sown during the autumn season can be harvested quite often even a month earlier than spring sown plants. Super Aquadulce and Aquadulce Claudia (AGM) are high quality varieties of broad beans and are widely used for autumn sowing. Once they are plucked, even the tips of the plant can be used for recipes. They taste really good with wilted butter.

Spring Onions

Spring onions are a common ingredient used in most modern day salad preparations. They grow quicker compared to other vegetables and you can expect a harvest in early spring if the seedlings are sown early during the winter season. White Lisbon is a popularly used variety of spring onion.

Shallots

Shallots have always been a favorite with gardeners during the winter season. Echalote Grise, a variety of shallots can be used sowing.

Garlic

Garlic traditionally has a long growing season, but is an important ingredient in the kitchen and well worth the wait. Moreover it is one of the easiest crops to grow and harvest. To get flavorful garlic, go for the Chesnok Red and the Solent Wight varieties.

Winter lettuce

There are many different versions of lettuce you can choose for your gardening work during the winter season. Certain types like the Meraviglia d’Inverno San Martino is a hardy variety while types like Winter Gem can be sown all through winter.

Spinach

This is one vegetable that continues to grow in popularity and is a staple ingredient of many classic dishes. Widely used varieties are Reddy and Tetona and you will be rewarded with regular pickings for the most part of the winter season.

Peas

Meteor and Kelvedon Wonder are some of the most widely used pea varieties. They are very hardy and can be harvested even 30 days earlier compared to some of the other pea varieties. Sugarsnap peas are also a suitable alternative for their freshness of flavor.

Asparagus                                                                                                 

If you have a lot of space in your garden, the asparagus is an ideal winter vegetable and quite often deserves its own garden bed. Popular varieties include Pacific Purple and Pacific 2000. One of the major drawbacks with asparagus is that it may take many years to provide a substantial amount of produce. Each crown of the asparagus will produce approximately 25 spears during the course of a year. But these crops will continue to harvest for an average of 20-25 years which makes great for gardeners looking for long term alternatives.

Carrots

Carrots are used all through the year and hence can be used as winter crops as well. The Adelaide variety, in particular, matures quickly, and you can expect a harvest in as little as 7 months.

Pak Choi

Pak Choi is a nutrient rich vegetable packed with iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and folic acid. The vegetable can be harvested throughout the winter and is regularly used in Asian recipes.

New To Gardening: 10 Crops To Choose

Gardening is one of the best soothing activities that one can engage in. Not only does it beautify your environment but it also keeps you busy. Starting your own garden can be an exciting adventure but also a challenging one if you don’t know the basics. The first step in starting your own garden is usually to choose the crops you are going to plant. Below is a list of the best garden crops that you can use. We cover vegetables here, but if you would like to grow flowers, we suggest you look at a local florist website to see which seasonal flowers grow the best in your area

Radishes

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This is one of the easiest crops to plant for beginners. The plant matures fast compared to other crops (it usually takes 3 weeks). The plant is favored by the spring and fall seasons and they require well-drained soil. You should keep watch of the pest especially the root maggot. Radishes are known for making great salads.

Lettuce

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Enjoying fresh green lettuce is one of the benefits of growing lettuce in your garden. The vegetable requires mild weather and that is why it grows best during spring and fall seasons. When it comes to growing this crop, you are not limited; you can grow it on the ground or in containers. The trick to keeping them fresh is watering them regularly and keeping them from direct sunlight. The crop needs loam soil. There are different types of lettuce that you can try;

  • Iceberg lettuce; this type falls in the category of crisp-head lettuces. Other types in this group include leafy Batavian and French crisp.
  • Romaine
  • Butterhead

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are one of the most used vegetables/ fruit in the world. To grow tomatoes you need to first grow the seed in a nursery bed for a period of 6 weeks. You can however choose to buy seedlings instead and transplant them to your garden. You should not crowd the seedlings, spacing them will enable each plant to receive adequate sunlight.

Peppers

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You can choose to grow either bell or hot peppers. You need well-drained sandy-loom soil for the peppers to grow and mature as expected.

Carrots

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Carrots are easy to grow in sandy soil. You however need to ensure that the pH of the soil is neutral.

Garlic

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You can grow garlic during spring and fall (highly recommended) seasons. You need loam soil that is slightly acidic.

Spinach

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This is one of the nutritious green vegetables. Spinach does best in soil rich in nitrogen. The vegetable thrives in cool temperatures and that is why it is recommended to plant it during the fall season.

Strawberries

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Strawberries grow well in well-drained soil that has pH 6.0. The fruit plant is favored by fall season. You can however still plant them in early spring. You should avoid planting the crop in areas where raspberries, tomatoes, peppers etc. have previously grown.

Arugula

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This is a crop that is favored by the spring and fall weather seasons. It requires fair amount of sunlight but plenty of water.

Onions

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This is one of the ingredients used in most of the dishes including salads. The plant comes in different types that vary in shape, size and color. When it comes to planting the crop, you can choose to transplant or use the seeds directly. Lastly, if you still don’t know how to garden, please check here or watch the below video:

Learn Some Beginners’ Tips